On the Road

Michigan's retread fee is a really dumb idea

Retreading is already one of the most efficient forms of recycling. Why tax it further? Photo by Jim Park.

Late last week, on an otherwise hum-drum news day, a notice came in indicating Michigan was contemplating a $5 environmental levy on retreaded tires. That livened up the newsroom. Placing a surcharge on what has to be recycling's posterchild product is silly enough, but wait until you hear why READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, October 9, 2011 8:20 PM | » Comments(0)

Can EOBRs be hacked, or their data corrupted?

Paper logs may be burdensom and subject to interpretation, but at least you know what's on the page is what you put there. Photo by Jim Park

One of the tenets of our legal system is the right to cross-examine your accuser. From trucking's perspective, this could mean proving the accuracy of a radar device or a DOT scale by demanding proof of calibration. Will we retain that right in the world of cyber-enforcement READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, October 2, 2011 11:55 PM | » Comments(0)

A Revolutionary Development in Powertrain Technology

Volvo's XE13 powertrain makes it possible to stay in top gear longer, which saves fuel and improves drivability.

Humped torque curves were the norm in North American heavy-duty on-road diesel engine power maps for decades. Today's torque curves are much flatter, but the height and width of the torque curve remain limited. Volvo Trucks has broken that mold in dramatic fashion with its new XE13 powertrain option READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, September 21, 2011 9:21 PM | » Comments(1)

We still haven't come to terms with brake adjustment

Automatic brake adjusters are poorly understood by driver and mechanics alike. Photo by Jim Park

Today is the beginning of Brake Safety Week in North America. CVSA inspectors will be doing a lot of brake stroke inspections this week, and also working with drivers, mechanics and others to improve awareness of brake systems and regulatory compliance. Its one of the best things CVSA does READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, September 11, 2011 9:47 PM | » Comments(0)

My old logbooks tell my story

Photo by Jim Park

Down in the basement lie several boxes of my old logbooks. Twelve books a year for each of the 20 years I spent playing in traffic -- half a lifetime on 7,200 pages READ MORE

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, August 30, 2011 9:17 AM | » Comments(2)

Save the Planet, Save Money Too

On-board climate control may become a necessity if 5-minute idle timers take hold. Photo by Jim Park

Hard-wired five-minute idle timers will probably begin appearing on trucks in 2014. You'll have two choices come winter: freeze your hiney off, or get an APU. This week we provide a list of idle-cost calculators so you can start budgeting for the new EPA rules READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:08 PM | » Comments(0)

Truck Crash Lawyers Repurpose Roadcheck Stats

Lawyers twist statistics to attack "fatigued drivers."

The headline reads "Texas Trucking Accident Attorney Says Roadcheck 2011 Reveals Truck Driver Fatigue Problem." It doesn't say we have a regulatory compliance problem; rather, this headline says in no uncertain terms we have a driver fatigue problem. We're back on the griddle again READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Tuesday, August 9, 2011 9:23 PM | » Comments(0)

17 easy steps to 9.5 mpg

Henry Albert takes his fuel economy and his business very seriously -- but he's willing to share some of his secrets to success.

Owner-operator Henry Albert was at the Shell SuperRigs event in Kenly, N.C. in June, but he wasn't showing his truck in the conventional sense. He was walking anyone who was interested around his truck pointing out fuel-saving strategies he uses to achieve an average of 9 mpg READ MORE

Tags: Fuel Economy

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, August 1, 2011 5:31 AM | » Comments(5)

What do we learn from Roadcheck?

With another Roadcheck event now some weeks behind us, a few questions linger about this annual ritual. What's Roadcheck all about, anyway? What do we learn from the exercise? And why are nearly one quarter of the truck brakes inspected still put out of service READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, July 22, 2011 2:41 AM | » Comments(0)

Saskatchewan to try out triple LCVs

As the debate over longer and heavier trucks simmers in this country, to our north, the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is about to begin a pilot project that will see triple 53-foot trailers in turnpike configuration operated on limited routes READ MORE

Tags: Vehicle Spec'ing

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Saturday, July 2, 2011 10:28 PM | » Comments(1)

Have an issue with cargo securement enforcement? It pays to participate

Each year, the Cargo Securement Subcommittee of Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance hosts two sessions of the North American Cargo Securement Harmonization Public Forum READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, May 26, 2011 7:59 AM | » Comments(0)

Driver delays: somebody has to pay

The American Trucking Associations released a statement Wednesday saying it would not support regulating driver detention times as proposed in HR 756, a bill recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR.READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, May 18, 2011 1:25 PM | » Comments(5)

Maybe the DOT <B>should</B> pay for naps

Humans are wired to spend nighttime hours sleeping. Napping isn&#39;t a substitute for sleep, but it can increase alertness and reduce the risk of  falling asleep spontaneously.

Ray LaHood should resign over his remarks regarding the recent spate of napping air traffic controllers. He has revealed himself to be so far behind current thinking on the value of naps in safety sensitive environments that his judgment can't be trusted READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, May 4, 2011 7:14 AM | » Comments(3)

Maybe what we're waiting for is the iCar?

Imagine Valmet&#39;s Think City EV with a bite-out-of-the-apple logo on the door.

Electric cars are just now hitting the streets. A few of them anyway. They are by no means burning up Main Street. I think I know why. Electric cars look too much like every other car. Maybe we need an iCar READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:14 PM | » Comments(0)

Whoa! That was Close

Not really, but it sure felt that way. With electronic collision avoidance technology working along side a driver's good judgment, the potential for truck-into-car rear-end crashes could be greatly minimized. This technology will reduce crashes and prevent all sorts of calamity on our highways READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, March 18, 2011 2:16 PM | » Comments(0)

Silent Running

Under the right conditions, electric trucks will run up to 100 miles on a charge, or at least a day&#39;s driving in an urban stop &#39;n&#39; go duty cycle.

I had my first drive in an all-electric vehicle recently. I'm not sure, in the long run, if industry will accept this technology as an alternative to diesel-powered trucks, but plug-in trucks are certainly worth watching READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, March 9, 2011 11:39 PM | » Comments(0)

Trucking in Japan

Having returned from my first trip to Japan just over a week ago, I'm still marveling at the differences between North America and that geographically small island nation. From a trucking perspective, there is almost no comparison. READ MORE

Tags: Trends

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, February 14, 2011 10:01 AM | » Comments(3)

How Much of a Rush Can You Be In?

Trucks and trains may at various times be competitors and partners in the supply chain, but when the two square off face-to-face at a level crossing, there's no doubt who will emerge victorious READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Friday, February 11, 2011 1:46 PM | » Comments(0)

The 1,600-Mile Sandwich: an Ode to the Supply Chain

Consider for a moment the logistics of getting a packaged but fresh deli-sandwich from Eden Prairie, Minn, to a roadside gas bar in the middle of the Arizona desert that's not even on most maps. It's a logistics triumph READ MORE

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, January 31, 2011 7:30 AM | » Comments(0)

Life in the Very Slow Lane

-- YouTube screen capture

Hot on the heels of my most recent blog about the truck crash on the Pennsylvania rest area on-ramp, comes this tale of a fellow riding an electric wheelchair along the breakdown lane of I-95 in Connecticut READ MORE

Tags: Heroes & Villains

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, January 12, 2011 8:53 AM | » Comments(0)

When Trucks Go Crash in the Night

The badly damaged trailer had to be dismantled before it could be removed from the scene. (Photo by ABC News27 WHTM)

It was a fairly minor crash, as these things go. Three trucks involved, no one seriously hurt. No motorists involved except those inconvenienced by the closing of the highway. The incident appears to be related to the twin evils of fatigued driving and the shortage of parking places READ MORE

Tags: Safety & Compliance

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, January 6, 2011 9:15 AM | » Comments(1)

And They Wonder Why We're Cynical

Truckers who work at night might as well kiss the 34-hour restart goodbye.

For all the fretting and hand-wringing, and for the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on listening sessions and research and fact finding, what we got from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Dec. 23 is a farce disguised as a proposed hours of service rule READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, December 27, 2010 11:52 PM | » Comments(2)

Stuck in Third Gear

How many hours at the wheel does it take to tire out a trucker? (Photo by Jim Park)

In the final days or maybe hours until FMCSA's latest hours of service proposal is revealed, I'm more than a little taken aback by comments I'm hearing from some drivers. More than a few drivers think that an eight-hour driving day would be fine. READ MORE

Tags: Regulations

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Monday, November 29, 2010 9:48 PM | » Comments(3)

The Morning After

Owner-operators could become an endangered species if the President gets his way

"The reason we've got an unparalleled standard of living in the history of the world is because we've got a free market that is dynamic and entrepreneurial, and that free market has to be nurtured and cultivated. READ MORE

Tags: Business

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:31 PM | » Comments(4)

Mack's Best - Old and New

Tight clearance for trailers back in the 1950s meant drivers had to give up precious cab space to make room for extra cargo. (Photo by Jim Park)

Imagine the driver shortage we'd have today if trucks hadn't evolved from what we were running back in the '50s and '60s READ MORE

Tags: Lifestyle

Author: Jim Park | Posted @ Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:09 PM | » Comments(1)

Author Bio

Jim Park

Equipment Editor

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Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.

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